Cigar Reviews

Foundation Cigar Company Charter Oak Maduro

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I hope everyone had a great, safe, and relaxing Labor Day holiday weekend. I know I sure did. Wrapping up the weekend I headed out back with a Foundation Cigar Company Charter Oak Maduro and a bottle of Brewery Ommegang’s Soothsayer Belgian Dark Ale.

Foundation Cigar Company Charter Oak Maduro

The Good Stuff:

Following up with the release of the Tabernacle, Nick Melillo’s Foundation Cigar Company also released the Charter Oak blends at the IPCPR trade show in Las Vegas this year. The Charter Oak is a value-conscious release which supports two different wrappers. One blend is made with Connecticut Broadleaf while the other is wrapped up in Connecticut Shade. Today, we are only concentrating not the Broadleaf version of the cigar as I will look at the Shade version at a later date.

The Foundation Cigar Company’s website has a good amount of detail on the project:

 “I wanted to choose a name that represents the greatest symbol of my home state of Connecticut, the Charter Oak.” – Nicholas Melillo” 

Foundation Cigar President Nick Melillo announces the completion of his newest brand, Charter Oak, set for release at the 2016 IPCPR Show in Las Vegas.

Charter Oak also pays tribute to Melillo’s grandfather, who while earning a modest salary working for the Winchester Repeating Arms factory after WWII, smoked exclusively, broadleaf cigars manufactured by FD Graves on State St, while, no joke, Rick Ardito’s grandfather, a guard at Winchester, also smoked FD Graves biggest selling broadleaf, Muniemakers.

“I wanted to create an economy-minded, everyday smoke for connoisseurs; something tasty and delicious but didn’t break the bank”, says Melillo.

Charter Oak Cigars hail from the same fertile valley in Connecticut that Master Tobacco Blender Nick R Agua aka Nick Melillo was born and raised. Charter Oak Cigars feature some of the most prized and sought after Cuban seed leaf varieties from the exquisite Esteli and Jalapa regions of Nicaragua. The cigars are then wrapped in either a silky, beautiful Connecticut Shade wrapper or a hearty and rich Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper, leaving you with the perfect every day and every occasion cigar.

As for the brand’s signature graphic, historians estimate that this unusually large Oak tree began growing sometime during the 12th century on a plot located on what is now downtown Hartford. Native Americans, who by the way cultivated tobacco nearby long before settlers, held councils beneath its massive branches. The tree is actually mentioned in Dutch Explorer, Adrian Block’s journey guidebook in 1608. By the mid 1600’s the plot was parceled and a farm was built with the agreement that the local tribe could share this sacred tree. In 1662 King Charles II issued a Royal Charter to the Connecticut Colony granting an unusual degree of autonomy. However, when his successor, James II appointed an English Governor-General to reclaim the Charter, it was hidden in what became known as Charter Oak, one of our countries greatest symbols of American Independence.

As I stated before, the Charter Oak will feature two blends. Concentrating on the Maduro version, the blend starts with the Connecticut Broadleaf wrapper with Nicaraguan binder and fillers. The cigars are produced at the Tabacalera Fernandez S.A. factory in Nicaragua. Both blends come packaged in boxes of 20 which feature 5 formats: Petite Corona (5 1/4 x 42), Rothschild (4 1/2 x 50), Lonsdale ( 6 1/4 x 46), Toro (6 x 52), Grande (6 x 60) ranging between $4.80 and $5.80 a stick. I purchased a handful of these over from our friends over at Smoke Inn.

Size: 6 x 60
Wrapper: Connecticut Broadleaf
Binder: Nicaraguan
Filler: Nicaraguan
Body: Medium
Strength: Medium
Price: $5.80
Pairing: Ommegang Soothsayer (Belgian Dark Ale 8.9% ABV)

Foundation Cigar Company Charter Oak Maduro


The Foundation Cigar Company Charter Oak Maduro carries a gorgeous deep, dark brown wrapper that’s very consistent in color with only some darker webbing towards the foot of the cigar. The wrapper is carefully laid and folder over the cigar’s foot while the cigar sports a very round double cap. The texture is extremely toothy with a good amount of oils. The wrapper feels very dense and is as hard as a rock while the filler tobacco feels very firm and well-packed as well. The cigar is polished off with a yellow, white, black and manilla band which carries the Charter Oak crest printed across the front.

Foundation Cigar Company Charter Oak Maduro

The wrapper gives off really bold sweetness, cocoa and spice aromas while the foot of the cigar is relatively the same only with a bit more earthiness to it. The cap cut clean and easily using my Xikar double bladed cutter. The cold draw produces a nice sweetness, plum, and cocoa.

Foundation Cigar Company Charter Oak Maduro

First Third:

The Foundation Cigar Company Charter Oak Maduro starts out with a decently powerful black pepper boom with only last thought the first few puffs. After the pepper fades the cigar leaves you with some bold plum and cocoa, with some soft sweetness, a bit of dirt and earthiness, and a subtle tartness from the wrapper. The draw is awesome. Each tiny puff pumps out huge globs of thick, white smoke while the Charter Oak Maduro gives off very little stationary smoke as it rests in my ashtray. The burn line is razor thin and dead even leaving behind a very tightly compacted trail of white ash which held on for almost an inch and a half before giving way.

Foundation Cigar Company Charter Oak Maduro

Second Third:

Into the second third of this Foundation Cigar Company Charter Oak Maduro and much of the flavors remain the same. The body of the cigar is resting comfortably in the medium range leading with cocoa, spice, and plum backed by sweetness, dirt, and earthiness. The retrohale coats my nasal passage with all sorts of chocolate and spice. The burn line is still rockin’ dead even and I close out the second third with absolutely nothing in terms of nicotine.

Foundation Cigar Company Charter Oak Maduro


The flavors in the Foundation Cigar Company Charter Oak Maduro continue to remain consistent. The body never really leaves the medium range leading with the cocoa and spice backed by plum, sweetness, dirt and earthiness. It took me almost 2 hours to take this cigar down to the nub and the burn and experience was flawless. I never once had to reach for my torch nor did the cigar produce any harshness or extra heat.

Foundation Cigar Company Charter Oak Maduro


The Foundation Cigar Company Charter Oak Maduro is a solid offering. This cigar showcases a flawless burn while retaining a classic maduro approach. The flavors are great, and mild. While the Charter Oak Maduro isn’t a very complex cigar, it remained consistent from start to finish. Let’s factor in the extremely low cost of this cigar and it’s a clear winner. While I personally lean towards a cigar with a bit more body and complexity, this is a great cigar for everyday consumption that won’t break the bank.

Foundation Cigar Company Charter Oak Maduro


Soothsayer is a 8.9% Belgian Dark Ale from Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown N.Y.. I’m a huge fan of their beers and they have been showcased here on Casas Fumando numerous times in the past. This limited run beer leads with spice, apple, cocoa, and malt with a very light mouthfeel before finishing crips with more apple, caramel, malt, spice, cocoa and sweetness. The flavors are almost identical to those found in the Foundation Cigar Company Charter Oak Maduro, as it adds a bit more fruit and sweetness to the mixture. I think this cigar would pair wonderfully with any Belgian dubbel or a soft Ruby Port.

Brewery Ommegang Soothsayer

Tony Casas is a 32 year old Creative Managing/Webdesigning/Craft Beer Drinking Cigar smoker from El Paso, Texas. When he isn't loving his wife he is either sleepy, hungry, or suffering from a headache.

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